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tv   Council on Foreign Relations Hosts FBI Director Christopher Wray  CSPAN  April 26, 2019 8:30am-9:31am EDT

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grave crisis that frankly staring our country apart. >> we received a lot of really strong question from the audience, and apologies were we not able to get to all of them but i will stay late after and i know maya well as both so we'll continue to serve as a resource. thank you all for coming out. thank you to the lawyers' committee team all of their help. at this outfit often said at te beginning it doesn't matter unless we do -- >> we believe the last moment of this and take you live now to the council on foreign relations in washington for speech by fbi director christopher wray. he will be talking to his agencies role in protecting the u.s. from international threats. >> given all that's going on that falls under his and the bureaus purview. he's had a distinguished career come first serve as a assistant u.s. attorney for the northern district of georgia in 97-2001.
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then he joined the office of the deputy attorney general here in our nation's capital in 2003 turkey was nominated by 43 43 o serve as an assistant attorney general for the department of criminal justice division where he spent several years. glad i didn't know you at that time. and did he return to the governments recently in august august 2017. when he was confirmed overwhelmingly by the senate to become the eighth director of the fbi. here's how we're going to do today. the director will first offer some remarks from this podium, then he and i will have a conversation before turning to you, the membership, for your questions here and with that please join me in welcoming director wray to the council on foreign relations. [applause] >> well, thanks, richard. it's great to be a with all of
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you. listen to richard go through my background a little bit there, i will say that if you had told me just even a couple of years ago when i was back in private practice that i would be finding myself back in the world of law enforcement and national security in incapacity, much less standing in front of the council on foreign relations as the fbi director, i would've been more than a little bit skeptical. my wife would probably have burst out laughing, as she and micro kids, are grown kids both spent a lot of the time rolling their eyes at me and shaking their heads. but there's nothing like like a loving family to keep your feet firmly on the ground. in spite of their amusement, or maybe even amazement, i am in fact, here today to talk about national security threat from the fbi's perspective. i want to talk about a number of things i want to focus particularly on the multilayered threat posed by china peoples want to talk about the need for
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stronger than ever partnerships with law enforcement, with the intelligence community come with all the communities we serve an increasingly with our partners in academia and the private sector. because the reality is that the threats we face today are too diverse, too dangerous and to all-encompassing for any of us to tackle alone. as you heard i last left doj's leadership back in 2005, and at the time i think it's there to say we were still in many ways building up our national security capabilities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and we made a lot of progress by the time i left, but coming back now i see before and after with a break in the private sector that jumps out at me more, and i see firsthand the strides, really incredible strides, that it been made toward keeping people safe from all kinds of harm come from increasingly wide array of bad
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guys. in some ways for me it's a little bit like the experience that an sure a lot of you have had of seeing the child of an old friend. the last time i saw you with this tall. when did you get so big? when did you get so grown up? of course then i would start thinking, even using that analogy and makes me wonder how did i get so old? but putting my advancing age aside, the world is incredibly different now 9/11 was a game changer in so many terrible ways, not just for the united states and for our own national security apparatus, but for the whole world. and those attacks blew apart any notion of separation between foreign and domestic threats, any notion that such attacks only happen to other people in other countries. i remember vividly standing in the fbi's 9/11 command center
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within director mueller and a slew of others in a jampacked room in the afternoon of the attacks. i remember the time that followed meeting with families of the victims of those attacks, and absorbing their shock and their heartbreak face-to-face. though none of us could of forcing where we would be now today in 2019, we all knew that the world had shifted around us. and now when i look forward, it strikes me that we face yet another paradigm shift in the way we view the world. the nature of the threats we face is evolving. criminal and terrorist threats are morphing beyond traditional actors and tactics. we still have to worry about things like an al-qaeda cell plotting a large-scale attack, but we also now have two were increasingly about homegrown violent extremists come radicalizing in the shadows -- have to worry -- these folks are
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not targeting the obvious, the airport, the power plant. they are targeting schools, sidewalks, landmarks, concerts, shopping malls with anything they can get their hands on. and sometimes things they can get their hands on pretty easily, knives, guns, limited ieds, cars. these are people moving from radicalization to attack in weeks or even days, not years. they're doing it online and encrypted messaging platforms, not at some camp or cave. on the cyber front, we are seeing hack after hack and breach after breach, and we're seeing more and more what we call a blended threat where cybercrime and espionage merge together and all kinds of new ways. we still confront traditional espionage threats, that drops,, covers, things like that but
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economic espionage dominates our counterintelligence program today. more than ever the adversaries targets are our nation's assets, our information and ideas, our innovation, our research and development, our technology. and no country poses a broader, more severe intelligence collection threat than china. china has pioneered a societal approach to stealing innovation in any way it can from wide array of businesses, universities, and organizations. they are doing it to chinese intelligence services, through state-owned enterprises, through ostensibly private companies, through graduate students and researchers, through a variety of factors all working on behalf of china. at the fbi with economic espionage investigations that almost invariably lead back to
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china, in nearly all of our 56 field offices, and they spent just about every industry or sector. the kind of activity i'm talking about goes way beyond their market competition. it's illegal. it's a threat to our economic security, and by extension its threat to our national security. but it's even more fundamental than that. this is behavior that violates the rule of law. violates principles of fairness and integrity. violates our rules-based world order that existed since the end of world war ii. put plainly, china seems determined to steal its way up the economic ladder at our expense. and to be clear, the united states, our country, is by no means their own target. they are strategic in their approach. the actual have a formal plan set out in five-year increments to achieve dominance in critical areas, and to get their they are
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using an expanding set of nontraditional methods, both lawful and unlawful. so weaving together things like foreign investment and corporate acquisitions, together with cyber intrusions and supply chain threats. the chinese government is taking the long view. that's probably an understatement. they made the long view an art form. they are calculating, they are focused, they are patient and persistent. overlaying all these threats is our ever-expanding use of technology. next generation telecommunications networks like 5g, the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, cryptocurrencies, unmanned aerial systems, deep fakes, can all sorts of stuff that wasn't particularly focus on during my time in the private sector, but now back in government i see blinking red right in front of me and right
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in front of all of us and we grow more vulnerable in many ways every day. taken together, these i think could be called generational threats because they are going to shape our nation's future. they will shape the world around us. they are going to where we stand and what we look like ten years from now, 20 years from now, 50 years from now. our folks at the fbi are working their tails off everyday to stop and find criminals, , terrorist, and nationstate adversaries. we're using a broad set of techniques from our traditional law enforcement authorities to our intelligence abilities. we've got taskforces all over the country with hundreds of partners from local, state and federal agencies. we've got taskforces not targeting everything from terrorism to violent crime to cybercrime to crimes against
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kids, crime in indian country, you name it. [inaudible] -- to participate and join investigations and information sharing. we've got rapid response capabilities we can to put at a moment's notice 30 much anywhere in the world for almost any kind of crime or national security crisis. and on the nationstate adversaries front, together with our partners we got a whole host of tools we can and will use from criminal charges to civil injunctions to economic sanctions, visa revocations. but even with all of that we can't tackle all these threats on her own. we've got to figure more and more ways to work together, particularly with all of you in the private sector. we need to focus even more on a whole of society approach because in many ways we confront all of society threats.
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it is very clear to me that the next few years will be very much defined by what kind of progress we can make private-public partnerships. one of the things that i found most pleasantly surprising since coming back to government is the state and enthusiasm of partnerships. i've spent most of the past 20 months since becoming fbi director visiting all 56 of our field offices, and each office i've been meeting with all of our employees to get a better handle on the work they're doing in the trenches. but i've also been meeting in one state after another with our partners, law enforcement, the communities we serve, academia, the private sector. and while i hear about the same threats and concerns everywhere i go, i also hear about how much more effectively we are working with our partners across the
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board, with whole new levels of teamwork. and in my view that's exactly the kind of thing we need to be building on every day. and our country the vast majority of our critical infrastructure and intellectual property is of course in the hands of the private sector. you own it. you run it. you're on the front lines you know the risks, you know the weak spots and you're much more likely in many ways to see the emerging threats coming down the road. nationstate actors are targeting academia including professors can research scientist and graduate students. they seek our cutting edge research, our advanced technology and a world-class equipment and expertise. and that's why it's so important for these lines of communication to be open. we've got to share as much information as we can with you as quickly as we can do as many channels as we can.
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we've also got a great mechanism for you to share information with us so that we have better understand of what you are saying, what you are worried about. we've got to keep building trusted relationships with all of you so that you know with confidence that we are here to help. so i hope we can keep this forward momentum going. i really do believe it's the only way we can maintain and strengthen our firm footing as the world continue to shift around us. look for to continue discussion with richard and with all of you. you. thanks for having me. [applause] >> well, thank you. this is not going to be one of the cool moments of my 16 years here as we start the q&a. i can now read the director of the fbi his miranda rights.
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[laughing] it's on the record anything he says can and will be used against him. [laughing] >> that means i can decline to answer. [laughing] >> touché. we'll get to china in a minute because you a lot to say about china by one to speak about another country to user phrase, nationstate adversary, namely russia. and i wanted to begin with a special counsel mr. mueller who described russian interference in the 2016 election come to use his phrase sweeping and systematic. is that if you you subscribe to? >> well, i think everyone has their own ajit is. i do think that russia poses a very significant counterintelligence threat, store in the cyber arena. certainly what we call the maligned foreign influence territory. certainly in the presence of
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intelligence officers in this country. in a lot of ways, yeah. >> do we see any change of your vantage point between russian interference and the 2016 presidential election, the 2010 midterms, did you see any evolution in the skiff or nature of the russian threat? >> i think of support to distinguish between two categories, sometimes the word interference and influence get, even but as, kind of get and eat about a little interchangeably. not sure that's quite the right analogy for each. foreign influence, maligned foreign influence can we use to describe different aggressive campaign that we saw in 2016 and is described and special counsel's report, and that has continued pretty much unabated is of use of social media, fake news, propaganda, false personas, et cetera, to spend us up, hit us against each other,
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so divisiveness and discord can undermine america's faith in democracy. that is not just an election cycle threat. it's premature 36565 days a year threat, and that has absolutely continued -- 365 days -- we saw that continue full speed in 2018, the midterms. but we did not see in 2018 was any material impact or interference with election infrastructure or campaign infrastructure. >> since you raised that, i assume you don't assume that won't be an issue in 2020 since you feel either nationally or locally, how comfortable are you with what is being done to protect our election infrastructure? >> well, i think on one hand i think enormous strides have been made since 2016 by all different federal agencies, state and local election officials, the
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social media companies, et cetera. but i think we recognize that our adversaries are going to keep adapting and upping their game, so we are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show, 2020. >> you talk in a slightly different context about public-private partnerships. what about the public-private partnership between the fbi law enforcement more broadly and social media companies? what you see as the division of labor? i know are you comfortable with the nature and level of effort by the social media companies to make sure they are not -- >> human on this foreign influence threat? >> yes, sir. >> that's a place what seemed the most dramatic change from 2016 to midterms in 2018. the flow of information back and forth between law enforcement and intelligence community and silicon valley i think has
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gotten dramatically better. i think those companies recognize that there is a need for them to take action so that their own platforms are not abused. and so there were a lot of success stories in the midterms where some of these companies were taking pretty aggressive action on their own voluntarily, not at our behest or requirement, to enforce terms of use and so forth under platforms, and shutting down and taking off various accounts that fit into the kind of category we're talking about. >> russia is obviously is the national security adversary that most people are concerned about. but what about others trying to influence our society, our political processes, china, north korea, iran also have fairly advanced cyber capabilities. to what extent is this a much broader challenge? >> foreign influence is a broader problem and has been
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around for decades. i think what's changed and what the russians have really taken to a different level in 2016 and continuing is the use of social media to kind of a bullhorn to facilitate those efforts. certainly we see other types of foreign influence efforts all those countries that you mentioned, but they tend to take slightly different forms. sometimes driftless particular policymakers, officials, to shift decision-making and analysis in the government one way or another. but certainly all those countries are watching and taking note of what the russians attempted to you in 2016 and since, i think we expect that this is going to become a phenomenon are going have to contend with with a lot more than just russia. >> let's turn to china for second because that was a big part of your opening comments.
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you've got the challenge posed by chinese students, some of whom seem to be more interestedn acquiring technology than good grades. what about the confucius institutes? what is your view of those and whether they are a dangerous platform or a problematic platform in this country? >> while i mean, the confucius institutes or something that we do as part of acer soft power strategy the chinese government has their conservative something we're concerned about bigamy raise a lot of things i talk with my opening, i things were more concerned that even than the confucius institutes. >> should they be clearer criteria or rules of the road or rules of conduct that universities put into place and enforce about skull access and student access? and if those rules are violated should there be penalties? >> i do think that the academic sector needs to be much more sophisticated and thoughtful
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about how others may exploit the very open collaborative research environment that we have in this country and reviewed in this country. i encouraged actually by the number of universities around the country that are taking very thoughtful responsible steps to make sure that they are not being abused and that their information, proprietary research, confidential information isn't stolen, which is happening all over the country. and it's a real problem. >> one of the phrases you use in your remarks was china is determined to steal its way up the economic ladder at our expense. then you talked about the first layer of responsibility is obviously the firms themselves. what more needs to be done, to
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what extent does this require things that really beyond the capacity of individual firms? they are up against a nationstate. doesn't sound like a fair fight. >> well, we're structure very differently, , right, as a couny than china. where essential editing roles of to the chinese communist party. they have scale and centralization. we have decentralization and free markets and that would want to change that. but it does mean that we need to be thoughtful about trying to find ways to partner together in a common defense. and we're trying to take steps in that regard with things like meeting with companies, providing threat awareness briefings, telling them things to be on the lookout for here in some cases even doing what and intelligence community we would call defensive briefings and a classified setting and cautioning them about what some business partner might mean that they don't fully appreciate. but i do think companies need to
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make sure that they're taking all the more of the long view. they can't just be focus on what's going to look good in the next earnings call the reality is that some of these threats are existential threats to them as a business and they need to have that perspective. >> asia relationship simply prevented innocent you would go to company xyz and say you ought to be doing this sort of thing? or do you also have a reactor relationship where you would go to them and say we have reason to believe you have now penetrated this or that, some national actor, you have to deal with that? how does it work? >> first off we try not to be telling companies what they need to do. again, that goes along with the kind of free market world we are in. so we try to have conversations where we are giving them facts and information and sensitizing them to things they need to be concerned about. and more often than not, i'm actually in place by their
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actions we've seen in the corporate sector by companies making i think on their own the right decisions. in the cyber arena, because of course one of the many tools in the toolbox our adversaries are cyber intrusions, we have a whole protocol for when we make victim notification and we try to provide information to a company that may have been hacked or whether me that an insider who has been bought off who helps steal information. and that's happening all the time. in the last several months alone, we have charged a number of either ms as officers or hackers associated with the mss for what is out and out intellectual property theft. >> has run into some problems certain firms in silicon valley not wanting to work on certain contracts with it felt it is being put for certain purposes, they are not comfortable for civil liberties for whatever reasons. have you went into the problem
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where certain companies have basically said were not going to cooperate because for example, our employees are not comfortable with doing so? >> you know, i was in a relationship with silicon valley is complicated. [laughing] but, but i think we are having i think increasingly positive interactions with them. we don't always agree on everything. we're not experiencing that i can think of any company that says we don't want to work with you. >> the most recent large-scale terrorist attack, an awful in a few days ago was in sri lanka. what is your take on what lessons can what does that tell us, what lessons of how should we understand that and perhaps acting wickedly going forward? >> well, without commenting to directly on the sri lankan attacks specifically, other than to confirm of course the fbi has sent person over to assist in the investigation to work with
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our partners over there, i do think it's a reminder that the terrorist threat isn't yesterdays news, isn't yesterdays problem, isn't con. i sometimes think people in this country and other parts of the world have started to get maybe a little laws a our little complacent about it, and it's a pretty chilling reminder that the threat is real. i think it also shows that folks can radicalize in a virtual way which is a bigger and bigger problem. people talk about isis and the fall of the caliphate. absolute truth it on the other hand, we were very much about what it's effective virtual caliphate where terrorist organizations can organize in a way that don't require the same kind of physical infrastructure. the other thing we see which is i think a problem people need to be very aware of is you always
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hear this phrase about connecting the dots in the terrorist arena. but a lot of the terrorist plots of today are more compact, involving fewer people less complicated attacks, shorter period of time, which means fewer dots to connect in the first place and then if you add on top of that the different ways in which communication is encrypted and hidden, that makes the dots even fewer. and the time in which law enforcement intelligence community folks can act is compressed. so the professionals sometimes refer to the time flashed a bank. the time from flash to bang has shortened, that's putting a whole new strain on our collective security. >> at the risk of worry and put in the room and beyond, have you seen any change in the interest on the part of these individuals and networks and groups in what we used to describe as grand
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terrorism not content with car bombs and knives and box cutters, but also think and of mass destruction? >> well, i want to be careful about what i talk about in this kind of setting, but i will say that despite my description of the homegrown violent extremist, the isis inspired attacks, the car bombs, the guns attacks, the knife attacks, et cetera, the so-called sleeper cells and efforts to conduct mass casualty attacks is still a phenomenon that exists today, and there's degrees to which some terrorist organizations are starting to rebuild and revive pixel is something where definitely focused on. >> i don't want to put words in your mouth but in place of what you're saying is people have to rethink the way to think about terrorism, at times he's come some people getting blasé, their sense of thinking it as a
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traditional threat where it's time-limited and at some point it goes away. as i hear you talking about it, what you're basically saying is we have to think of this as an open ended ever evolving threat. >> i think that's fair. what i would say is there's a difference between resigning yourself to terrorism as a fact of life and becoming apathetic and numb to it. .. >> collaboration, integration between different parts of law enforcement, our joint
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terrorism task forces within the intelligence community, within our foreign partners is so much more well-oiled than it was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 that i was relieved, frankly, to find it, but this has to be also caveated. >> and a question, about what is called white nationalists, a lot of people would have talked about domestic terrorism and focus of this or that, islamic cells. what about white national terrorism? >> well, we sort of separate the world of terrorism into kind of true international terrorism, which is al qaeda, al-shabaab, hezbollah, et cetera.
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home-grown violent extremists, isis or other groups inspiring, maybe not directing, so efforts to conduct attacks by people already here on behalf of the global jihadist movement and what you're getting to, which is domestic terrorism, which is not just different kinds of violence committed on behalf of some kind of white supremacy ideology, but all the way over to anarchist ideology and things in between. we have lots and lots of investigations in that space. it's a steady, persistent threat across all of those different types of domestic terrorism. we've had quite a number of arrests. i think last year we had more terrorism arrests and our joint task forces, than we did international terrorism arrests. so, we're working very actively in that space. you know, we brought charges against some folks involved in the rise above movement for
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their connection to the charlottesville rallies and some other things. we had an individual coast guard lieutenant who wanted to commit an attack right here. we've had the so-called package ied case. >> and might be released, i saw, by the judge. >> i hope the judge does the right thing. >> one issue that's come up, obviously, and the president's put a great emphasis on it, is the threat, the national security threat posed by quote, unquote, illegal immigrants coming across the southern border. from what extent from your point of view are illegal immigrants to this country. to what extent do they pose a national security threat? >> well, certainly the border security threat is something that i think needs to be taken extremely seriously, having gone down and visited the border in multiple locations and been to our field offices in that area, i think there are
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significant security threats posed along the border ranging from drug trafficking concerns, human trafficking concerns, and a lot of the attendant violence that comes with it. >> okay. i could ask a lot more questions, but i will show uncharacteristic restraint. we've got a good chunk of time left. i guess i don't have to ask people to raise their hands. you anticipated my-- what i'll ask you to do is keep your-- raise your hands and we'll ask you to stand up, please identify yourself, one question to a customer and as brief as you can make it and that way more of your fellow members will get in. jill, why don't you kick us off. >> thank you very much. jill doherty from the center. director wray, i was thinking of a phrase that came to mind as you were speaking, dirty cops, a phrase used by president trump and it seems
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pretty obvious that the bureau has been under sustained rhetorical attack recently. to what extent has the bureau been damaged by this, if it has? how would you assess the impact on the bureau? >> so this is a topic near and dear to my heart. i would tell you that rumors about damage to our morale or brand or anything else are grievously overstated. i say that now with the perspective to having been to all 56 field offices and met with and when i say met with, i mean have a conversation with something like 3 or 4,000 of our partners. the feedback i get from our partners is that the bureau has never been stronger and better. the feedback i get from our employees, is that they're inspired. we're not focused on the rhetoric. we're focused on the work.
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we're focused on who we do the work with and who we do the work for. and i look at examples like the woman in our miami office who had 12 stitches in her face from a bad accident. next morning, back at it. i look at the guy the s.w.a.t. agent in chicago who got shot up in his arm by a fugitive from an ak-47, and not only survived, but retrained himself to shoot left-handed and then requalified for s.w.a.t. left-handed. these are people who love their johns. >> have you had any issues or any changes in either recruitment or retention? >> you know, actually i'm glad you brought that up. because despite chatter and lord knows, there's enough chatter out there to keep everybody busy, i'm focused more on action and words. action than words so i look at recruiting. you know, we have had, since october, something like 16,000
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people apply to be special agents, which is up from all of the prior year. that tells me something about brands and enthusiasm for the mission. i look at the interns applications, you know, we're a driving economy so kids coming out of college have a ton of choices. we have the highest number of people applying to work at the bureau out of college than we've ever had and our selection rate in both of these pools is between 5 and 6%, which is more selective than just about any ivy league school. of course, i'm tempted to maybe stop using the ivy league school analogy. >> the question is whether selective as-- >>, but i look at retention. you talked about retention, then i'll be quiet, but, again, this is something that i feel very passionately about. you look at our attrition rate, meaning special agents leaving before their normal retirement
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age. and our attrition rate last year was 0.5%. and i bet you that there's not an organization represented in this room that has an attrition rate that low. we have people who are grouchy and cynical all the time just like everybody, but when it comes time to manifest their views through their work, they love the mission. >> good to hear. sir. >> steve, boston university law school. you've explained that china high school a formal plan to achieve dominance and you say they're weaving together the legal as well as the illegal. can i-- the fbi mission is the illegal one. since you mentioned the legal side, do you think the united states has a strong enough long-term plan of our own to deal with china's damages in the world? so, for example, is the liao
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inbetween legal and illegal right? should it be changed? the congress did that a little on exports. are there other areas where congress changed the lines. you mentioned economic sanctions. do they have a role versus the legal activities of china. how can china take a long view more than with respect to soft power? >> so, it's an excellent question. i would say there are legislative fixes that are useful. for example, in the foreign investment space, sifius, a lot of people in this audience are familiar with, congress did make, i think, very important reforms on sifius. it's not a matter of criminalizing or making something illegal, but it's a matter of using our laws to better protect our better economic and national security, and i think there may well be things like that that can and should be done.
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you know, the importance of recognizing that things like foreign investments, that's fine. corporate acquisition is fine. talent recruitment and economic sector is fine. but understand that those things in the wrong hands can be abused. and so, false punishing the behavior when it crosses the line and then using the tools that we have to better protect ourselves long-term, i think, is where the country needs to be. i do think that this country, going back to the last couple of decades has underestimated this threat. the good news is, everywhere i go in my first 20 months in this job, up on the hill, throughout the administration, with different agencies, the corporate sector, the economic sector, the foreign partners, people are waking up and realizing that this is a threat that needs to be taken seriously and i think that's good news for everybody.
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>> edgar. i was very reassured by your-- what i interpreted as the focus of china as a strategic threat. question, are you able to acquire the necessary human resources? because the foreign tells the community 20 years after the middle east high engagement, nobody speaks arab in the room of 52, one, can you acquire this expertise. given that you have such wide responsibilities, but many of them are also the concern of state, local enforcement to some, can you offload these other responsibilities to focus on the strategic threat? these are two questions, thank you. >> so, i'll take the second one first. we don't view ourselves as offloading responsibilities, but we do view ourselves as working more smartly, if i can
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use that, it's probably not a word, with our state and local law enforcement. and that's where the task forces come into play, violent crime, for example. we're not offloading violent crime responsibilities, but we're trying to focus what does the fbi uniquely bring to bear with that step. and look at others, like state and local. try to imagine a car with a local fbi agent at the whoo he will and another car is at the other agency. we're all going the same place and working together and allows us to stay in the fight and provide the expertise that we have without trying to be all things to all people. so that's the way we kind of view most of those phenomenon. the first issue, whether we have enough resources to deal with the china threat. it sounds like you're particularly talking about language skills, certainly we are trying very hard to recruit people with language skills. every time i go to a graduation, an agent or analyst
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graduation, i'm looking at language skills reflected in the class, to people who speak mandarin, position, are certainly attractive to us. but, again, that's where partnership with others help to bridge that gap. we're not the only agency working on that problem and therefore, we're not solely dependent on our own linguists, we work so much closer with our intelligence community partners that we can share and collaborate with each other and if we work more and more closely with the private sector, our foreign partners, we're able to leverage their expertise, there are few people in this world having seen what it's like to work in silos and seeing what it's like to work in teams, would pick silos. and it took, i think, the national security apparatus a little while to get to that recognition. now that we're there, it makes it so much more efficient and
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effective to deal with some of these problems. >> what about the technology side? last i checked, your stock option plan is not very generous. and how is it you compete with the private sector there to get people not just who speak mandarin, but might be able also to be familiar with some of the cutting edge technology, say in ai. how do you compete there? >> certainly in terms of recruiting, it's a challenge. most young, technically savvy people today are drawn less to financial incentive and more to trying to do meaningful work and tackle hard problems. and so, what we have to offer in terms of recruiting is we're dealing with the most sophisticated adversaries there are and we're able to give them an opportunity, some of these kids, to do things that, they can't legally do in the private sector. [laughter] >> so there's that.
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and then second, we-- we have a lot of ways in which we're partnering with the private sector to take advantage of their innovation. i've been out to northern california a couple of times. a lot of my direct reports have done as well. we're looking at ways in a variety of settings to capitalize on what they see in terms of innovation and technolo technology. >> hi, jeff price, johns hopkins. on the russian intelligence adversary, one of the evolutions from the old days has been increasing role of the gru, military intelligence in the russian intelligence services. i wonder if you have thoughts on the shift. gru is said to be more aggressive, and a different set of rules than the sister
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russian agency. and the thoughts on the challenge and implications for us? >> i'm pausing because i want to think about what is appropriate for me to talk about in this kind of setting. >> just among friends here. >> small, intimate collection. look, we've taken a number of steps to be more aggressive, to call out gru actors for some of the more braising things that have occurred. i think about, for example, you know, we charged a number of gru officers for their role in an extensive hacking campaign to undermine in the international anti-doping arena, for example. some people sometimes question whether that makes sense to charge, you know, to indict foreign intelligence officers. i actually happen to believe
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that it makes sense because sometimes in the foreign intelligence arena, once you get into questions of attribution, i'm tempted to say nothing says attribution more than an indictment. we believe strongly in our criminal justice system and that's our way of saying we're so confident that we're right that we're willing to have these people come into u.s. consumers and take our chances with the jury, beyond a reasonable doubt. and also, we find that a lot of these folks like to be able to travel. and once they've been indicted, their travel options get decidedly smaller. the fbi has a long memory and a broad reach and i wouldn't be surprised to see some of these people in orange jump suits one d day. >> cunningham. >> thanks very much, and would say in the southern district of
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new york, on behalf of the great agents i've worked with, i want to thank you for spending a lot of time on the integrity and the reputation of the fbi as its director. my question though goes to the cyber intrusions. so the celebrated cyber instructions, north korea's hack of sony, the chinese hack of personnel records and others. my question, do we have the right tools and frame work for retaliated. not just saying stop that, don't do it again, but you did it, we know you did it and here is the way to retaliate against you. >> do we do that the right way? >> and you might extend that, to those who would influence our elections, do we have the right framework there? >> the thing about offensive cyber, it works best if people like the fbi director don't talk about it on television. [laughter] >> but suffice to say we're looking at an all-tools,
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all-agency approach. i'll use your question to use the opportunity to tell, we're not a fan of what some in the private sector refer to as hack back. >> explain what you mean. >> we don't think it's a good idea for private industry to take it upon themselves to retaliate by hacking back at somebody who hacks them. that creates unintended consequences and so, not something we would recommend, ji more than we would recommend people taking justice in their own hands privately in another arena. i do think we have to get more and more agile in dealing with the problem and one of the-- in the cyber arena in particular and one of the things i think is still kind of lost, even among sophisticated audiences, people tend to think of cyber security as their perimet perimeter, whereas in fact in many ways the most important part of cyber security in
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today's world is inside. it's your own insiders. so, think about the analogy of a house, right? yes, it's very important for you to have an alarm that goes around your perimeter. yes, it's important for you to have locks. maybe it's important to have cameras and lights and everything else, but all of that stuff is kind of useless if the person who is in your house already got a key from somebody and it's just hanging out in your basement and with whenever you go off to work it rummaging through your personal and confidential information. a big part of cyber security is encouraging companies and other organizations to much more quickly look inward, because it's not a question of if you get hacked, it's when. so mitigation is in some ways more the appropriate concept than out and out prevention. >> so you're going to say here in the record that you don't keep your password on a yellow stick-em next to your computer? >> i am. >> i just want today --
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wanted to clarify. yes, sir. >> a question that may not be in your purview, but something you shared with us. you said you feel that maligned influence from other countries targeting the united states with the intent to divide us is ongoing. i think you know, any good analysis of threats, of the analysis of the threat. and what makes us so vulnerable in the attempt to divide us as a country. what could we do as the federal government or leaders do to address that vulnerability? thank you. >> well, i don't think we in the fbi 0 are-- or we in the federal government can or should police content. and that's a core tenet of who we are as a nation. and so in a sense to though that makes us more vulnerable. what we need to do is raise
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public awareness so we have resilience, more reflective, thoughtful populous. so people need to be careful what they read. people need to try to do a little thought about maybe what's the sourcing of what i'm reading. people ought to get their news from a variety of different sources. people ought not to believe everything they see on twitter. >> you don't think there ought to be-- just so i understand what you said. you don't think there ought to be limits or constraints on content dealing with incitement, how to-- we basically ought to leave it up to the judgment of individual americans and others to make of it what they will? >> i don't know that i would say that. i just think when it comes to passing laws or providing criminal tools that deal with content, or in very delicate personal territory and we need to be thoughtful how we do that. we are trying to do our part to raise people's awareness about
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what the issues are, what they should be on the lookout for. you know. we put out a website at one point, that is called protected voices, that sort of tied to raise campaign awareness and other people in the voting public, about how to be a little more intelligent of consumers of information. and again, back to the private sector, there's an incredibly important role for silicon valley and a lot of social media companies to be able to do things that they can do as a business to enforce terms of use on their own platform to prevent those platforms from being abused and manipulating our public. >> yes, sir. >> hi, i'm andy sullivan with reuters. if we were to return to domestic terrorism for a minutes. when you're investigating somebody who is inspired by isis, for example, you've got a very valuable tool you can use,
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it's against the law to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. when you're looking at somebody who is inspired by white supremacy or other ideologies like that, the coast guard guy is a good example, you don't have that. do you need more tools from congress? do you need more laws to help go against people like this, the coast guard guy today? >> well, i would say that look, we always like having more tools, that makes us more versatile and more effective. so, i would never be one to turn down the offer of new weapons in the fight. but i will say that what distinguishes the international terrorism from the domestic terrorism one is not just the existence of material support statute, it's also true that we designate foreign terrorist organizations and that's what people are providing material support to, the state
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department is involved in those kinds of designations. in the domestic terrorism context, we are not seeing so much terrorist organizations in the same way that you might think of isis or al qaeda or al-shabaab or hezbollah as an organization, we're seeing more lone actors, more people kind of informally, kind of associated with each other. it's much more uncoordinated, decentralized so it's not really clear to me that you would be able to designate, for example, domestic terrorism organizations and really move the needle much. we rely very heavily on all sorts of other charges in the domestic terrorism context. gun charges, you know, meth, explosive charges, false statement charges. we work were state and locals with all kinds of, you know, murder charges, attempted murder charges, assault charges, you name it. and so, i think we've actually
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been pretty effective, but it does put a premium on the things that i've been pounding on today, which is this partnership concept. we certainly hear about hate crime charges in context with some of the domestic terrorism. one of the charlottesville actors, for example, we had a 20-something count hate crime indictment. >> time for a couple more. >> jeff flaherty. i get the whole thing about content under the first amendment. what can we do to disclose origin of content and provide that information to the consumers of the content? >> so i think you're exactly-- we sometimes use the word source instead of origin, but i think he is that the right concept, which is we're focused on who is doing it, not on what they say. i think it's important to understand that in the space of foreign influence, we don't start by looking at inflammatory content and then
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trying to figure out who is responsible for it. we're focused on the threat, actors, and then we try to figure out what content they're generating. and i think when we have something that we can expose publicly to raise awareness, we try to do that. we are, also, mindful though of the fact that the sort of perplexing thing about the sewing deviivisiveness and discd strategy we don't want to play in the adversary's hands and giving more amplification and volume to something we might be able to nip in the bud quickly. think of some completely fake news effort using a false persona, box, et cetera. if we're able to work with silicon valley, get that shut down within a matter of days before it got a ton of traction, we don't want to then add to the problem by increasing everybody's concern
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by, you know, broadcasting information that we were able to prevent from really being able to go viral. there's a sort of balancing a tactically that we go through on a case by case basis. you're right in general, focusing on the source or origin is really the name of the game. i think people would be surprised at how much content is a couple steps removed sourcing back to, you know, the ira or some other russian propaganda arm. >> are you yourself on facebook or twitter? >> no. >> after you're out of this job will you start? >> no. [laughte [laughter] >> director wray, as you know, there's been some discussion recently about issue of visas involving academics and researchers from china who are not in artificial intelligence, but rather things like international relations.
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could you share your thinking about that and how you see that kind of issue evolve? >> well, i don't want to comment on any specific visa-related decision or a specific academic center's decision. i will say that we have seen many instances in which the visa process, which i think is very important, to ensure an open and collaborative research environment, which i have no desire to change, in that sense, is being abused and exploited and in those instances where we have information, that exposes that abuse, we want to share it with the right people so they can make the right decisions and as i said, i think that's starting to happen more and more often and i think you can expect to see that happening more and more often. >> time for one more question. the gentleman in the back has been patient.
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>> and then i'll-- i'm with the voice of america persian service. my question is white house in an unprecedented move rog-- fto. my question is this content the role fbi plays in combatting rogc, hezbollah, presence in the u.s. is there any credible threat from these individuals or these entities in the u.s.? thank you. >> well, i don't want to discuss any specific investigation certainly. i will say that with or without the designation we've had any number of matters related to the activity including here in the united states. as have some of our closest


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